NCAA D-I Council Reportedly Approves Voluntary Football, Basketball Activities

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 07:  Footballs on the field before a college football game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Syracuse Orange at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on September 7, 2019 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The NCAA Division I Council has voted to approve voluntary workouts for football and basketball teams for the month of June, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.

Thamel reported the NCAA will vote on other sports as soon as possible, perhaps within the next week. There is a moratorium on workouts through May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA is looking at perhaps the most complex return of any major sports organization in the United States.

It appears highly unlikely that most of the country's universities will be back for in-person sessions by the fall. The California State University system already announced its classes will be held online only through the 2020 fall semester. That decision will impact Division I members San Diego State, Fresno State and San Jose State.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said last week that schools will not bring sports back unless students are allowed on campus:

"All of the commissioners and every president that I've talked to is in clear agreement: If you don't have students on campus, you don't have student-athletes on campus. That doesn't mean [the school] has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you have to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. ... If a school doesn't reopen, then they're not going to be playing sports. It's really that simple."

This could set up a situation where the NCAA has to decide whether to hold a 2020 football season or 2020-21 basketball season where only certain member schools participate. The NCAA's amateurism stance would be called into question if it had athletes return to campus (like employees) without the presence of other students.

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This raises the possibility of entire football and basketball seasons being played out under political dividing lines. Many states with Republican governors have been more lenient thus far in "reopening" their states to business, while most Democratic governors have been more conservative, hoping to quell the chances of a second outbreak.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has cautioned universities to be "careful" about reopening in the fall.